this is bbc news, i'm martine croxall. the headlines at 8pm. president putin says he will not expel any us diplomats in response to president obama's decision to throw out 35 russians. american president—elect donald trump praises vladimir putin's actions, calling them very smart. russia asks the un security council to consider a new resolution to endorse the ceasefire in syria that came into force last night. a post—mortem examination into the cause of george michael's death has proved "inconclusive" — further tests will now be carried out. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the mao in oxfordshire injuring seventeen people. and in half an hour i'll be looking back at a diverse year in film from hollywood super heroes to home—grown hits and fabulous foreign—language films. that review 2016, the year in film, with me, mark kermode. good evening and
welcome to bbc news. us president—elect donald trump has described president vladimir putin as very smart after he announced russia would not yet be expelling any american diplomats following president 0bama's decision to send home 35 russians in a row about cyber espionage and hacking. mr 0bama had accused the russians of interfering in the us presidential election by hacking into democratic party e—mails. the kremlin has a lwa ys party e—mails. the kremlin has always denied any involvement and president putin said today he look forward to rebuilding links with america when donald trump became president. 0ur moscow correspondent steve rozenberg has the latest. near the kremlin tonight, they were putting on a seasonal show. ahead of the new year celebrations, there was song and dance and some musical theatre.
but that was nothing compared to the political theatre being played out inside. first up on stage, the foreign minister who advised president putin to expel 35 us diplomats. america had expelled 35 russians. in other words, tit—for—tat. cold war style. it seemed inevitable. but, no, vladimir putin said, he wasn't going to stoop to the level of irresponsible diplomacy. he wasn't going to expel any americans. he even invited the children of all us diplomats in moscow to a new year's party here in the kremlin. that was a surprise. but it didn't change what america's top intelligence agencies believe to be true, that state—sponsored hackers backed, by the highest levels of the russian government, had interfered in the us presidential election. with a cyber attack
on the democratic party. was president putin behind it? washington suspects he was. and last week, i got a chance to ask him myself. mr president, your country has been accused of state—sponsored hacking with the aim of influencing the result of the us presidential election. president 0bama revealed that he told you personally to "cut it out". so, what did you tell him, in response? the kremlin leader refused to tell me. dismissing all the talk of hacking as sour grapes from the democratic party. "the losing side always tries to pass the buck", he said. but president 0bama had decided there was enough evidence to merit retaliation. as well as expelling diplomats, he ordered russian government
compounds in new york and maryland to be shut down. us officials believe they were being used for intelligence. washington has announced sanctions against individuals, too. including these russian nationals, wanted by the fbi for cybercrimes. but today, president putin said he would work to restore relations with america under donald trump. what putin and trump expect from each other is a certain kind of decency. a certain kind of frankness. and no hypocrisy and no political correctness. by not expelling diplomats today, the kremlin was sending a new year's gift. to the new man in the white house. a sign that moscow wants a new relationship with washington. could 2017 be the year that russia finally comes in from the cold? this is what us president—elect
tweeted. let's speak to alexander vershbow, a former us ambassador to russia and he has also served as deputy secretary general of nato. he's now at the atlantic council think tank. hejoins us from our studio in washington. thank you very much forjoining us on bbc news. what's your interpretation of the decision vladimir putin personally made not to retaliate? first of all, let's go back to the beginning, and remember russia carry out what is clearly an unacceptable hacking attack, attempted to interfere with our political process. the serving presidents to map the president was fully justified, some presidents to map the president was fullyjustified, some were criticising him for not going far
enough. what president putin has done is quite clever, not surprising. it's been apparent for some time he's written off the 0bama administration and he's now playing nice with the incoming administration, hoping they will pursue a reset or normalisation of relations and let russia off the hook for a lot of the things it's done over the last couple of years, starting with the aggression against ukraine. that would be very unwise, but the positive response to putin's move i think is going to race further anxiety on the part of those who care about the european order. watch at the white house make of this tweet donald trump has just posted? great this tweet donald trump has just posted ? great move this tweet donald trump has just posted? great move on delayed by putin, i always knew he was very smart. i think the white house is likely to continue they have nothing else to say on the subject. this is an unusual transition, where the incoming president is more on the radar screen, and twitter account,
thanis radar screen, and twitter account, than is usually the case. there will bea than is usually the case. there will be a lot of speculation here in washington. we only have one president at a time and president 0bama did the right thing. now we have to look even further at the detailed assessment is going to release before he leaves office. congress is going to investigate this as well. the congressional leadership is quite fired up about the hacking. i hope the president—elect when he comes into office won't make any hasty moves to normalise relations with russia until he's consulted with congress, with the allies. especially allies like the uk who have borne a lot of the berkman of the shank stems. —— borne a lot of the burden. what position does it put donald trump and if we set aside the tone of this tweet for a moment? how can donald trump maintain these sanctions if russia has said, look, we're not going to respond in kind? well,
these particular sanctions were limited, the main action taken was the expulsion of diplomats who will be eventually replaced. the most important sanctions were imposed to do half years ago in the wake of the illegal annexation of crimea and russian aggression in eastern ukraine. nothing russia has done since that time is justified even an easing, much less a lifting, of those sanctions. there is strong consensus those sanctions. there is strong consensus right now at least, across the atlantic, that russia has to ta ke the atlantic, that russia has to take some concrete actions before the sanctions are removed. hopefully this will be factored in in the deliberations of the new administration and i hope this issue is raised in the confirmation hearings for the new secretary of state and secretary of defence because they are realists about russia and hopefully they will provide more reassuring language than we've heard in the twitter feed of the president—elect. than we've heard in the twitter feed of the president-elect. you left nato a short time ago, what was the view from that organisation about
the actions by russia in recent yea rs ? the actions by russia in recent years? the alliance, i think, has been quite united in seeing what russia has done against ukraine and earlier against georgia, as a basic challenge to the whole international system that we've built together with russia. since the end of world war ii and especially since the end of the cold war. their‘s no serious different within nato we need to strengthen our defence. —— no serious divisions. most importantly, the two sides of the atlantic had to stay united. allies are a bit nervous about some of the statements during the campaign made by the president—elect about nato. more recently he's been more reassuring saying he's a believer in nato, is mainly concerned allies need to spend more on defence and carry their share of the burden, a very legitimate criticism of of the allies. but hopefully he will not
make any hasty moves, but consult with allies on such an important matter as how to rebuild the relationship with russia. the relationship with russia. the relationship no question is in bad shape, there is nowhere to go but up in this relationship, but we have to do it on the basis of some fundamental principles, based on a unified approach between the united statesa nd unified approach between the united statesand its european allies. the foreign ministry in russia had recommended to vladimir putin that he also eject 35 american diplomats in response to the measures taken by the united states. the prime minister of russia dmitry medvedev, accused the outgoing administration of ending in anti—russian death throes. let's get more from our washington correspondent, laura bicker. i'm sure there hasn't been a
response yet about this latest tweet from donald trump, how likely are they to say very much? we're waiting to hear if donald trump's team will say any more. it's certainly a huge contrast, 2a hours ago president 0bama was unveiling sanctions against russia, punishing russia, saying all americans should be alarmed by russia's actions, interfering with us democracy. 2a hours aren't we have the president—elect praising vladimir putin as a very smart guy. he's said in the past, donald trump has said in the past, donald trump has said in the past, donald trump has said in the past in the campaign trail vladimir putin is someone he could work with, someone he could chat to. he's hinted this may be a strategy he would go for. when it comes to the alleged hacking taking place, he may find himself isolated in his own party. there are republicans who believe president 0bama's actors are
quite right, in their words, and they believe president 0bama has taken too long to act against russia. there will be a move for donald trump to do something about hacking, whether he will, we'll find out on january 21. hacking, whether he will, we'll find out on january 21. if he would do anything it would put him at odds with many authorities and agencies in the us who have all come to the same conclusion. 17 separate intelligence agencies have come to the conclusion hacking was done by russia and orchestrated by the highest levels of russian government. we're at an impasse for donald trump. if he does decide to push ahead with a relationship with vladimir putin, he has to disregard the evidence from his own agencies and it puts him at odds with the very agencies who will have to advise him on foreign and domestic policy. he has a dilemma on his hands and with regards to this tweet
it's hard to read into a very short tweet. it is what donald trump's policy has been. he reacts on twitter, his supporters love that directness, the fact they can have a conversation with their president—elect. it's difficult to read into any possible foreign policy from just a few words. does he mean he wants a relationship with vladimir putin or is hejust praising the move he's made by not retaliating? if it comes to january 20, if he does push ahead with sanctions and continue on the road president 0bama has started, he may risk starting a frosty relationship, one vladimir putin is hoping he will begin completely afresh. it is an interesting time, you heard this is a new low for us— russia relations. vladimir putin is hoping they are about to hit a high. laura bicker in washington, thank you. the russian
consulate general in san francisco as explained the impact on russians and americans. a limited number of people will not allow us to deliver all the consular services to russian citizens and american citizens in the way that we want to do it. so our workforce will be less than we have now. but we will do our best to provide all the services for the russians who live here, and we are speaking of, i don't know, something, our estimate is 100-150,000 something, our estimate is 100—150,000 russian something, our estimate is 100—150 , 000 russian citizens something, our estimate is 100—150,000 russian citizens living in the western part of the united states. they will come to us for new passports, for birth certificates,
for certificates of power of attorney. all these things. as well as us citizens, who are travelling to russia for tourist purposes, business purposes, different kinds of exchanges. last year maxine was responsible for... he's our press the tache, but he's also responsible for eastern european visas to the us citizens. this year we issued, like, 25,000 visas. 20? 20,000 visas for us citizens to travel to russia with tourist purposes. that is what we will continue to do. and hope we will continue to do. and hope we will be able to serve everyone of them. and we'll find out how this story — and many others — are covered in tomorrow's front pages. at 11.30 this evening in the papers — our guestsjoining us tonight are benedicte paviot,
uk correspondent at the french broadcaster, france 2a and susie boniface, columnist at the daily mirror. 0nly only one review tonight because at 10:30pm we'll bring you the new year ‘s honours. the headlines on bbc news: president putin says he will not expel any us diplomat in response to president 0bama's decision to throw out 35 russians. donald trump called the decision very smart. russia as the un security council to consider a new resolution to endorse the ceasefire in syria. a postmortem examination into the cause of george michael's death has proved inconclusive and further tests will be carried out. sport, a full round—up from the bbc sports centre with lizzie. hello! you sound surprised!
championship leaders brighton and hove albion's game mike dawson has given my feelings side the lead in the opening few minutes. 1— 02 hull against everton, 17 minutes on the clock. a win would lift them off the bottom of the table. championship leaders brighton and hove albion's game against strugglers cardiff city was called off tonight. a blanket of fog has descended on the amex stadium over the course of the day forcing the referee to call the game off. there are three other fixtures in the championship with second place newcastle also in action against nottingham forest. for the against third in the scottish premiership. aberdeen away at hearts. 7:45pm was the kick—off, the latest score 0—0. bayern munich assistant manager paul clement
is the leading candidate to become swansea city's new manager. the former derby county manager was interviewed for thejob in october, before bob bradley replaced coach francesco guidolin. ryan giggs and chris coleman have both been ruled out but former birmingham city boss gary rowett remains in contention. swansea, who are second from bottom of the premier league, are hopeful of having bradley's replacement in place before the trip to crystal palace on january the 3rd. andy murray has lost his last match of 2016 — and it was in straight sets to david goffin at an exhibition tournament in abu dhabi. goffin will play rafa nadal in the final after he beat milos raonic. nadal won his first match since returning from injury yesterday and carried on that form in the first set, which he took 6—1. raonic, the wimbledon finalist, came back strong in the second, breaking midway through and took the match into a decider. but nadal won the third to earn a place in the final as he hopes to put an injury—ravaged few months behind him. after trailing 12—0, they've turned
itaround... after trailing 12—0, they've turned it around... they were leading, but now newcastle have scored a try, newcastle 19—14 up, the latest score. we've got around 12 minutes before half—time. that match is flying. score is going different ways. george north will return for northampton saints against gloucester on sunday. his first game since suffering head injury against leicester on december three. it was his fifth concussion in two years, including two in the match on your screen now, between england and wales in 2015. a review board said he shouldn't have continued to play against leicester, but they didn't sanction northampton. the england wing anthony watson will be back for his first appearance in three months after being named on the bench ahead
of bass's match with exeter tomorrow. he broke his jaw in england training camp in october. he's now on course to return to the nations. 0ne cricket story. stuart broad took an early wicket for his australian big bash side hobart hurricanes but they still lost their match against the brisbane heat by 7 wickets. broad removed openerjimmy peirson forjust a single with his first ball of the match as brisbane made a poor start in pursuit of their target of 174. but after that brendan mccullum and chris lynn made light work of the run chase as the heat cruised to victory with 22 balls to spare. that's all sport for now. i'll have more in the next hour. russia is asking members of the un security council to consider a new resolution that was in dorset the ceasefire that came into syria last night. russia is asking members of the un security council to consider a new resolution that would endorse the ceasefire in syria that came into force last night.
the ceasefire agreed by the syrian government and some opposition forces appears to be holding, despite reports of sporadic fighting in parts of the country. this was the moment when the tide of syria's devastating civil war turned. buses lined up earlier this month to evacuate thousands of rebel a huge blow to the opposition movement, leaving the syrian regime in a commanding position. and giving the regime an opportunity to negotiate a ceasefire from a position of strength. translation: this reflects the reality that after aleppo's liberation the situation is now different. there is a real opportunity to reach a political solution for the crisis in syria that ends the bloodshed and establishes the roots for the future of the country. but it is syria's key ally, russia, which is leading this push for an end to the five—year civil war. a chance for president putin to portray himself as a peacemaker, although he admits the ceasefire is fragile. and already some rebel
groups are disputing the terms of the truce. 0sama abu zeid of the free syrian alliance insisting that the ceasefire applies to the whole country and all rebel groups, including islamist extremists, which the syrian army says it will continue to target. two ceasefires agreed by russia and the united states earlier this year did fall apart quickly. but this time the americans and other western powers have been completely excluded, with russia working instead with turkey and iran. and so far this latest ceasefire has held in many parts of the country, although there have been some government air strikes. this lull a welcome respite for a country, so much of which has already been destroyed. richard galpin, bbc news.
a post—mortem examination carried out as part of the investigation into the death of george michael has proved inconclusive. further tests will now be carried out. police are treating the singer's death in oxfordshire on christmas day as unexplained but not suspicious. fog and freezing conditions have caused difficulties on the roads and severe disruption at several airports. a coach overturned on a slip road of the mao in oxfordshire. 16 passengers and the driver were injured in the accident early this morning. our correspondent helena lee reports from the scene. it was in the early hours of this morning in thick fog the coach veered off a slip road off the m40, before rolling into a ditch and on its side. its mangled remains and the damage done clear when it was turned back over. 16 passengers were on board,
travelling from heathrow to oxford. remarkably, none were critically injured. but all were treated in hospital, some for broken bones, others for cuts and bruises. the bad weather made the recovery operation challenging. all three emergency services attended. with 17 people on board in total, very intensive for the paramedics and the ambulance crews that attended, assisted by fire and the police services as well. obviously probably a chaotic scene to start with. and dense fog not helping that. the oxford bus company said the driver was very experienced, and had been doing overnight shifts for a number of years. now the coach has been taken away, the investigation turns to how it happened. was the thick fog to blame? and why did the coach come off a junction earlier than it should have done? well, for drivers in parts of southern and eastern england and wales, conditions on the roads today have been challenging. heavy fog has meant visibility has been poor —
in some places less than 100m. and the fog is expected to linger throughout this evening. it's been causing problems too at airports. at heathrow there have been cancellations and delays throughout the day. the same at city airport in london, and gatwick, with thousands of passengers' plans before new year's eve disrupted. the advice? to check with the airline before travelling to the airport. helena lee, bbc news, oxfordshire. on the financial markets the ftse 100 index has ended the year at a record high. the index of leading shares closed at 71112 points beating the previous record set yesterday. the sharp fall in sterling following the brexit vote has boosted the value of many global companies that generate much of their revenue in dollars. the government is giving renewed consideration to allowing learner drivers to have lessons on
motorways in england and wales and scotland. other changes affecting motorcycle learners are also being considered. the lessons won't be compulsory, and driving instructors will decide when learners are ready. ministers hope the move will make roads in britain safer, as our correspondent daniel boettcher reports. turn right at the end of the road. 17—year—old hannah spicer is practising driving with her mum today. she started in september and has had 20 lessons. she hopes she will be ready to take her test soon. she will not be allowed to drive on a motorway until she passes, but there are plans to change that. the government is considering proposals to allow supervised learners onto the motorway for the first time, and hannah is in favour. coming onto the motorway for the first time with your instructor next to you would be easier, and you have a second pair of eyes looking at everything that is around you. if you go on your first time alone, it's going to be a daunting experience. learner drivers would only be allowed on motorways in certain circumstances. they would have to be with an approved driving instructor, the lessons would be voluntary, and the instructor would
decide if they are ready. they would also have to be in a car with dual controls. you can't make it compulsory for practical reasons. large bits of the country have no motorway access. and if you allow it to happen, the people who are nearest the motorways, those most likely to be using them, will get to learn how to do it properly. this would covering england, scotland and wales. northern ireland has its own plans to allow learners onto motorways. the government says britain's roads are already among the safest in the world but these measures could improve that record further, and it proposes changes not just for drivers but for novice motorcyclists, too. they would have to take a theory test online and those holding a provisional licence could have their compulsory basic training certificate revoked if they get more than six penalty points. hannah expects to have passed before any of the proposed changes come in. this is a consultation at the moment. it will also consider a target number of hours before a test can be taken, and some argue that could make learning too expensive,
but the government insists there are no plans to make that target compulsory. daniel boettcher, bbc news. let's see if there's any improvement out there with the weather. fog causing problems once again across central and southern parts of england in particular. it may take an overnight and linger well into tomorrow. disrupted travel likely on the roads and at airports. bbc local radio should keep you up—to—date. the fog worst overnight. patches of fog elsewhere. no fog in northern ireland and scotland, breeze from the south—west will keep temperatures up nicely. cold in the south—east. maybe a touch of frost for some. grey start in the south—east. if you don't have fog, you will have cloud. the weather
front slipping slowly south across scotland, creeping into northern ireland through the afternoon. many of us will creep into double figures. through the evening, the weather front makes steady progress into northern england, parts of wales. behind, colderair. around night. cold enough for snow showers. hello, this is bbc news. the headlines: president putin says he will resist calls to retaliate against america's expulsion of 35 russian diplomats. the us has accused the kremlin of hacking and publishing the emails of senior democrats during the us presidential campaign. mr putin also said that positive developments in relations